Just the other day I was rummaging through my cabinets, looking over my fruit bowl, and in my refrigerator searching for what??? I was not exactly sure. I wanted something to snack on; but not a cookie, piece of fruit, nuts, or anything savory. I ended up eating an apple that was really yummy but not quite satisfying to my unknown craving. At work a short while later the other pastry chef mentioned that she had a desire to make something with Nutella. That was it; that is just what I had been craving. Nutella! How could I not have recognized it? Then I recalled a recipe I pulled from a magazine a while back for a gianduja spread. (Gianduja is a hazelnut infused milk chocolate.) I may not be a fan of milk chocolate, but give me a good quality one and cross it with hazelnuts and it is like I have died and gone to heaven. It was time to finally satisfy my taste bud craving.
On my way home I picked up some milk chocolate and headed into my kitchen. I pulled out the recipe I copied with the notes on changes I wanted to make to it. I gathered my ingredients when it dawned on me that I had nothing to put the spread on. So I put Martini and Latte on their leashes and headed up the road with them to a local grocery. A walk for my girls and fresh bread for my chocolate hazelnut spread is great for me. A mile there and back, I was one step closer to taste bud gratification.
When I got back into my kitchen I toasted my hazelnuts and gently rubbed their skins off before combining them with the chocolate. I then followed it up with adding some flavorings and olive oil. Yes, you heard me. A fruity flavorful olive oil paired with something sweet is ultimately glorious. If you have great olive oil, now is the time to use it. Your end result is an ultimately creamy milk chocolate spread with a nice hazelnut crunch to it. Combine it all with some fresh wholegrain bread and all your taste bud cravings will be more than pleased…you will have to hold yourself back from licking the knife you use to spread it with. It is that good!
Crunchy Chocolate Hazelnut Spread made with Olive Oil (makes about 1 ¾ cup)
6 oz (about 1 ¼ cup) of Hazelnuts
8 oz of milk chocolate (best quality you can find)
¼ cup of sugar in the raw
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
¼ cup of olive oil
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When your oven is heated place your hazelnuts on a sheet pan and place in the oven for about 12 – 15 minutes. You are looking for the nuts to be lightly toasted and the skins beginning to peel off.
Next, remove the hazelnuts from the oven and place in a kitchen towel and rub them all together to gently remove the skins. You may have to do this in small batches for best results but it is okay of you do not get all the skins off.
Then, while the nuts are still warm; place them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. To this add your milk chocolate, sugar, and vanilla. Pulse it all together until it is all into a paste. Gently pour in the olive oil in a steady stream with the motor running until it all resembles a creamy spread.
Finally, taste your mixture and see if you need to adjust it in anyway. It should be creamy with a nice crunch to it. Place it in an air tight container or sterilized jar and place a lid on it. Spread can be held at room temperature in a cool place for up to 1 month. You can also store it in your refrigerator for up to two months, but will be too stiff to spread. In that case it can be placed in the microwave for a couple of seconds to loosen it up. Stir it well, spread, and serve.